History seen through the view finder
COLLINGWOOD – Have you ever wondered what Nottawasaga Bay looks like from the top of the Collingwood Terminals or what the old grain elevator looks on the inside?
That curiosity is what drove art photographer Jason Booth to get permission to go inside the structure to document the historical structure.
“It took six years to find the right person to get me inside,” he said.
Late on a winter afternoon in 2012, he was given permission to photograph the structure for one hour.
Being the building was “eerie,” said Booth.
“I only had an hour so I had to look at the documentary side of documenting the history but also making artwork because I knew down the road there would be a show come out of this. I had to really be smart with my camera for that hour and not waste any shots,” he said.
He made his way from the rooftop to the basement taking 1,500 photographs until dusk.
“I found this 20-foot long wall full of inscriptions written by people that worked there, either their name and when they worked there or an event in history. There was one there when Kennedy was shot.”
Then he simply put all the photographs in a folder.
“It wasn’t until the last couple of months that I looked at the images for the show,” said Booth.
His show Terminal 64 is now on display at the Collingwood Public Library with 45 poster sized framed photographs that will hang until October 31.
The significance of the title is that Collingwood Terminals Limited was in service as a grain elevator for 64 years from 1929 to 1993, capping 123 years of grain trade in Collingwood.
“There are 500 documentary photographs that are not in the show,” he said.
Booth said he hopes the show gives people a new perspective of the structure. He would like it preserved and opened to the public.
“It holds views that nowhere else in Collingwood has and it’s not fair that nobody gets to see them,” he said.
“I hope that people will see inside of it and judge for themselves on the condition of it and whether they feel it’s worth doing something with. In 2012 and it wasn’t in that bad of shape,” he said.
While the inside of the building wasn’t in bad shape, he wonders how that much concrete continues to stand on the foundation built in the 1920s.
The show also includes black and white historical photographs of the Terminals.
“In my show there is a picture of what that building was built on. The picture is mud and tree stumps,” he said.
The terminals and the Watts boathouse are the only two buildings left standing from the shipyard era.
“There were so many other buildings that were never documented,” he said.
He’s tried to get back in to further document the structure but hasn’t got approval.
“Apparently they are not letting anybody in there - the structural integrity is a big thing. I’ve told them I just want to go in and document the inside,” he said.
Booth figures there is more inscribed walls in the maze that is the basement.
“It was all done in pencil and they are slowly fading,” he said.
This is Booth’s third major show in Collingwood. His first show was the Historic Globe Hotel (Mountain View) at the Tremont Hall Gallery in spring, 2015, where he documented the building, which is no longer standing, adding his own style to the photographs.
Last year his Living in Colour bold colour photography show was held at the Collingwood library. A secondary feature included a collection of Booth’s historical photos.
“It’s a hobby. I buy up photographs from all over the world and digitize them. Maybe I’ll find a gem in there,” he said.
Booths photographs are for sale. Enquire at the circulation desk or contact Booth at 705-607-1781, email email@example.com or visit his website jasonboth.ca.